Whilst researching Russian prisons and artwork, I came across this piece by a Russian architect known as Alexander Brodsky. He’s famous for his narrative works on the brink between different disciplines. His production is usually about questioning and challenging ways of living through interpretations of the space or taking critical viewpoints on Russian cities throughout time.
The piece I’ve come across, ‘Your Prison’ takes a more existentialist standpoint. It’s an installation, set up as a 3m x 4m room in which ladders are placed to connect platforms in various positions. Each platform is placed on a different level, with each supporting furniture to represent some of the basic activities you would encounter in a daily routine: cooking, sleeping, washing, studying etc. The daily routine has been simulated using the ladders to connect each platform, thus becoming an endless cycle of spaces and actions and the room this is placed in is also decorated to look like a prison cell. I love the way the idea of being stuck in a routine has been interpreted here, feeling trapped in a cycle as each day is the same. To analyse it further, as a conventional conception of progression the ladder has now become the symbol of being stuck in a perpetual condition.
This is quite a nice piece and relates to my work quite well, incorporating prison the prison aesthetic as well as concealing some more notions of hidden meaning. Something I thought about whilst looking at this was the position of the prison tattoo artist, as tattooing in prisons is prohibited with consequences such as extended sentences or isolation. So in a broader timescale than the daily routine, I can see an extension of this being that the prison tattooist is trapped because of his profession and this is possibly also made worse by the fact that they might be forced to continue the practice. Considering that the hierarchal system of tattoos is principal within Russian prisons, it would be plausible to assume this.
You can find out more information on Brodsky and his work from these links: